How does one refute this article?
In my city, we have a stigmatist who was interviewed by a local reporter who was agnostic. The article was full page describing his meeting with the woman. Apparantly her stigmata happens every Friday of the month (or week…I can’t remember). He began the interview a skeptic. He witnessed her sitting still, with her hands open before him as they started to bleed. She also bleed from her forhead. The reporter smelled a wonderful oder.
The reporter tried to keep his tone objective by balancing his first hand report of this event with an interview with a skeptic such as the one you presented in your link. The skeptic made many of the same objections telling the reporter that the wounds were propbably self inflicted, that these people are religious fanatics, that they are attention seekers, that they had probably sprayed perfume in the room by some stealthy means etc…
However, despite all these counter arguments, the reporter did not seem convinced by them. You could tell that he was deeply affected by what he witnessed. (Please note that the newspaper he was reporting for is well respected). The local Bishop forbade her to make further interviews and ordered her to keep silent about her experiences. I have not heard about her since the article was released around five years ago.
One final point: you do not have to defend these events, or even consider them miraculous. They may very well be psychosomatic. We don’t know. You shouldn’t base your faith in God on reports like these. (Even though the stigmata often appears in the lives of proclaimed saints).
To undermine the legitimacy of stigmata would also undermine the legitimacy of the Church.
Let me explain…
Let’s say that Saint Francis, Saint Pio, or any other Saint with the stigmata was actually a charlatan. If these wounds were false “miracles” or supernatural phenomena based on lies (self-inflicted), one would rightly conclude that the Church’s authority is not longer reliable in determining Saintliness. I suppose the same could be said for other miracles as well.
That being said, the faithful are not obliged to believe in these miracles; however, I cannot possibly see how an individual would reject them, if they also acknowledge the authority of the Church.
Stigmata or other miracles do not legitimize the authority of the Church. However, if the Church officially, but falsely proclaims a miracle to be from God and it’s not, this proves the Church’s teaching authority is false.
Fortunately, this has never happened, that I’m aware of. The Church is right in being very cautious when it comes to these issues.
Some of these people have never read the biography of Padre Pio have they? I don’t see that as fake at all.
Cecil Adams is full of hooey on this one, though I like some of his other stuff.
Has the stigmata ever been used as a miracle to determine whether a person is a saint? I don’t know… But I would be surprised if it did. St. Theresa of Avila had all sorts of strange things happen to her. For example, levitation, bilocation, etc… but she taught that these things were nothing in and of themselves. The surrest proof of sanctity is orthodox teaching and heroic virtue. Satan can imitate any such miracles, but you wont find Satan imitating virtue or teaching orthodox doctrine.
Also, the miracles that prove a person is a saint has to happen after the saint has died as far as I know.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.
The most recent notable person with the gift of “Stigmata” was Saint Padre Pio. There has been investigation into his Stigmata. Science could not explain it. The quote from a person at Lourdes comes to mind:
For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.
LOVE your neighbor as yourself.
Just to add a note: That quote was originally from Saint Thomas Aquinas, and someone later attributed it to Lourdes as well.
No, I don’t think so. Miraculous or supernatural events are not looked as much as love and holiness. Ultimately, all supernatural occurrences are hallow (if not dangerous) unless they bring people closer to God.